Struggling Unknown Writer
I rise early at Pineapple Hill, my beach house in a cow pasture in the South Carolina boondocks. I help Crystal (aka Marianne) get ready for her job as a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader—showing other teachers in our poor rural school system how to coach other teachers to bring slower students up to speed with the rest. When she’s out the door, I head up to the third floor office—a library with “crow’s nest” style balcony over looking our bottom field. I open my lap top and go to whatever I’ve been up to: researching publishers for the two novels I’ve completed (or think I’ve completed), polishing a work still in progress, or trading notes with a few other writers I’ve joined up with (having found them on the Internet because I’m a bit of a hermit).
In recent months I’ve had run ins with two book publishing scammers. One had a contract full of red flags warned about by writer advocacy groups such as AuthorsAlliance and AuthorsGuild, and reliable magazines Writers Digest and even Forbes. The other was a bait and switch charging for their services. I closed the lap top for a few weeks. Went out for rides on my electric bicycle and drank Sangria in Pineapple Hill’s famous hot tub.
Then the other day I received word that a publisher in the Carolinas is interested in one of my manuscripts. They have excellent credentials, strong catalog, sensible process, and first rate cover art. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the authors they represent appear to all have MFAs, have won literary awards, and been published in the latest greatest lit magazines.
I have none of those things.